Silver is a leading competitor to gold and copper in fine pitch wire bonding used in the interconnection of microelectronic devices. Primary material for wire bonding has been gold, which gave way to copper in order for original equipment manufacturers to realize cost benefits. However, copper wire bonding has exhibited several reliability issues, especially in industrial and high temperature applications. Corrosion is the major problem, which was mitigated by coating the wire with palladium, which increased overall cost of production. Other concerns include harder free air ball (FAB) leading to under pad metallization cracking, smaller process window, excessive aluminum splash especially in fine pitch bonding, and lower throughput and yield arising from the hardness and stiffness of copper. Due to the above concerns, automotive, military and aerospace industries are still reluctant to fully adopt copper wire bonding. Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are also not manufactured with copper wires due to its low reflectance. Some of these industries are still using gold wire bonds in most of their packages, but are continually looking for an alternative. Silver wire bonds have good electrical and thermal conductivity, are less prone to corrosion than copper, have low melting points and comparable hardness to gold. Also, cost of silver has been shown to be similar to that of palladium coated copper wire, hence making it a good alternative. Silver wire bonding, a relatively new area of research, has attracted a lot of research focused on wire dopant material, bonding process, quality and reliability. This paper is aimed to serve as a comprehensive review of research done in this area, by summarizing the literature on silver wire bonding, establishing benefits and drawbacks over other wire bond materials and indicating reliability concerns along with failure modes and mechanisms.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.